Article written by Dr Greg Potter ( PhD, MSc, BSc)

Greg Potter helps individuals and organisations sustainably improve their health and performance through practical lifestyle changes. He does this through coaching, public speaking, consulting, podcasting, writing articles, and developing and popularising innovative new products.

Greg’s PhD research focuses on sleep, circadian rhythms, nutrition, and metabolism, and he is co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Resilient Nutrition, a nutrition and supplement company.

You’ve probably noticed there are certain bedrooms where you consistently sleep like a champion. Your bedroom setup strongly affects the quality of your sleep, so in this article, we’ll highlight small changes you can make to your bedroom that might add up to meaningful improvements in your sleep. You don’t need to overhaul your entire bedroom at once. Instead, consider if there are some modifications you can make that are both likely to enhance your sleep and easy to implement.

How To Find The Best Mattress For You

Your mattress is arguably the most important piece of furniture you own. It should be comfortable, supportive, and durable. To determine if a mattress meets these criteria, select a mattress that includes a home trial period of at least a few weeks. When reviewing candidate mattresses, there are a few other criteria you might want to consider. First, having a mattress that wicks away heat is best, and spring or hybrid mattresses are generally better at keeping you cool than foam ones, for foam tends to store heat.

Next, if you and your partner have very different body weights, there are mattresses that differ in firmness on either side. All else considered, heavier people tend to be more comfortable on firmer mattresses. You might find that a mattress’s comfort depends heavily on your sleeping posture though — another reason to get a mattress with a trial period. If you don’t want to get a new mattress or if you’ve just bought a new mattress and want to extend its lifespan, get a mattress topper. A topper can make an existing mattress more comfortable and can keep it in good condition longer too. For example, the Dual Layer Mattress Topper is exceptionally easy to wash and is a simple way to add a little cushioning to your mattress.

How To Find The Best Pillows For You

Moving on to pillows, choose pillows that let you maintain a “neutral spine” at your neck. This is basically the position your neck is in when standing tall. For example, if you stand tall and look at yourself in the face of the mirror, the spine at your neck is all but perfectly vertical. It should be in this position in bed too — your neck shouldn’t be craned to the left or the right. For more information about neck position and sleep, here’s an article on this subject from the Sleep Foundation. If you’re a side sleeper, you might need a slightly thicker and/or firmer pillow (see these products) to maintain this position than if you’re a back sleeper or front sleeper. If you change position a lot during the night, it’s probably best to pick a medium pillow (see these products). Finally, as mentioned in the second article in this series, if you find your head gets hot in bed, you’ll do best with a pillow designed to dissipate heat like these temperature regulating pillows.

How To Find The Best Duvet For You

Regarding duvets, you might want different duvets for the winter and summer — just consider how you’ll be able to save on your energy bills by having a warm (high-tog) duvet this winter. The Fine Bedding Company offers a large selection of different duvets with various tog ratings. For example, their Breathe® duvets come in several tog ratings to cover your needs year-round. For more on how to pick the best duvet for you, take a look at their Duvet Buying Guide.

How To Find The Best Bedding For You

If you often feel too hot in bed, you’re bound to benefit from bedding specifically designed to keep you cool. Their Smart Temperature collection harnesses temperature-regulating technology from Swiss textile innovators, HeiQ®. This technology helps dissipate heat as temperature rises, minimising deviations from the ideal in-bed temperature when you’re prone to overheating.

Finally, consider the materials from which your choices of mattress and bedding are made. The Fine Bedding Company prides themselves on carefully and ethically sourcing only the finest materials for its products, such as the DOWNPASS-certified Goose Feather and Down used in their Natural Filled Bedding.

How To Optimise The Air In Your Bedroom

Nobody sleeps well when it’s too cold or too hot and, as we touched on in the second article in this series, there are also sleep issues driven in part by abnormalities in body temperature regulation. While there’s not actually been much research on this, an air temperature of about 17 to 20°C is about right for most of us. To keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated, opening a window is sometimes enough. This method has the added benefit of reducing the accumulation of carbon dioxide in your room.

The relevance of this is that there’s some evidence that high levels of carbon dioxide erode sleep quality. To further enhance air quality, you might like having a plant or two in your room too. Some, such as peace lilies, can lower levels of environmental pollutants. If opening a window alone doesn’t get your room temperature to your preferred sweet spot, using a bedside or ceiling fan can help. We suggest avoiding air conditioning when possible, for ironically air conditioning units are particularly prone to exacerbating global warming due to the combination of their waste heat and high energy use.

How To Prevent Noise From Disturbing Your Sleep

Noise such as sounds from vehicles can disrupt sleep, so you’ll help protect your sleep by minimising exposure to any noises that could interrupt it. Probably the simplest way to achieve this is by using earplugs. It’s possible that you’ll need to try a few pairs until you find ones that are right for you, but this exploration should be worth it in the long run.

As a side note, scientists are interested in whether we can use certain types of noise to enhance sleep. At present, however, there’s probably not enough high-quality research to recommend any particular type of noise for sleep, bearing in mind that excessive total noise exposure is bad for hearing.

How To Set Up Your Bedroom Lighting For Great Sleep

Excessive exposure to light before and during the sleep period can worsen sleep and thereby health, so changes to your bedroom lighting might help you sleep better. While you’re in bed asleep or intending to sleep, it’s best to be in a room that is as dark as possible. To achieve this, use blackout blinds or a sleep mask if you’re exposed to light pollution from the outdoors.

The overhead lights in your bedroom would ideally be dimmable, but you might want to favour lights at eye level or below in your room. The spectral composition of the light matters, and “warm white” ones are ideal — choose lightbulbs with a colour temperature below 3,000 Kelvin. A simple way to envision the best kind of lighting in your bedroom is that it should mimic a campfire — low, warm-coloured, and only bright enough to see. Regarding devices, remove non-essential light-emitting devices from your room too — so no TV or smartphones, if possible! If you must wake to an alarm, get one that dimly emits red light, which is less alerting and disruptive to your body’s clock than other colours.

Enjoy Your New Sleep Sanctuary!

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, so please don’t feel you must strictly comply with all the guidance. Instead, implement two or three of the bedroom modifications detailed above and you should soon be on your way to more restful sleep. For now, if you have any questions, reach out @finebeddingco on Instagram or Facebook.

January 23, 2023 — Dr. Greg Potter